Cook on a Whim: Triple Berry Crème Fraîche Scones

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Triple berry crème fraîche scones. Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.

These triple berry crème fraîche scones are pretty much my dream scone. Berries, vanilla and butter are all things that make me swoon, and these scones have them all.

This recipe is a riff on my vanilla bean scones, which are a favorite around here. I make these a little thicker, and they are just so soft, tender and bursting with a combo of sweet, juicy strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. The dough is scented with one of my favorite flavors: fresh vanilla bean. And with a nod to my French heritage, they are made just a bit more elegant with the addition of crème fraîche.

These scones are the perfect weekend treat (or any day, really). These would also make great shortcakes with some freshly whipped cream and berries sandwiched between.

The idea for these scones came one day when Jason and I were on a walk/run on a beautiful back road near our house. There were wild climbing rose bushes just starting to bloom all along the roadside with their pretty little white blossoms and buds and glorious scent. They look a lot like berry brambles, and I knew the moment I saw them that I had to create a berry recipe just so I could snip a few of those flowers and use them in my photos. I love finding inspiration in the littlest, most special places. I hope I never lose that.

Wild flowers are another thing that makes me swoon. They are the only flowers for me. My gorgeous, darling, sweeter-than-the-glaze-on-these-scones husband surprises me with them from time to time. I will never, ever get tired of that. Sigh … swoon … okay, back to the scones.

If breakfast in bed is your thing, or if you want to surprise someone with breakfast in bed, these scones are the perfect recipe, as they are better if prepared the night before. I must confess, breakfast in bed is not my thing. Getting up, having coffee, doodling around in the kitchen in my PJs — that’s more my style.

Plus, the thought of trays of food and hot coffee teetering haphazardly up the stairs is the opposite of relaxing. It all just sounds way more romantic than it actually is, and I’m a super romantic person! Do people really have breakfast in bed? Or is it just in movies and commercials?

No matter where you prefer to eat your breakfast, you (or your kids) can easily whip these scones up the night before, stash them in the freezer overnight, bake them the morning of — yes, straight from the freezer — and enjoy a freshly baked, still warm-from-the-oven scone.

You can thank me and those cute little recipe-inspiring blossoms as you bite into a warm, tender, triple berry crème fraîche scone.

These really don’t need anything else, but who said anything about necessity? While they’re still warm, split one open and slather it with salted butter and really good jam. Raspberry jam would be my choice.

If you really want to get carried away and you’re a super planner, make some homemade crème fraiche. Here’s the recipe I followed: Homemade Crème Fraîche. Just ignore most of the comments. I used Horizon Organic Heavy Cream, which is ultra-pasteurized, and Lucerne cultured low-fat buttermilk. I doubled the recipe and let it sit in a covered mason jar at room temp next to our coffee pot, which is basically always on. It took 24 hours for the cream to thicken, but it was well worth the wait. It thickens more in the fridge, too. It is the best, freshest tasting crème fraîche! And so much cheaper than store-bought, which can also be hard to find.

Also, if you’re like me and start making recipes without checking your pantry, here’s a recipe for powdered sugar: Homemade Powdered Sugar.

Triple Berry Crème Fraîche Scones

Ingredients:

For the scones, dry mixture:

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder (I use aluminum-free baking powder)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, diced into very small cubes and kept very cold

1 ½ cups berries (1/2 cup each blueberries, raspberries and diced strawberries or any combo you like)

For the scones, wet mixture:

1 cup crème fraîche (you could use full-fat sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt as well)

2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing

Seeds from 1 vanilla bean

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

Seeds from 1 vanilla bean

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup crème fraîche (again, you could use full-fat sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt)

2 to 4 tablespoons cream, milk or half-and-half (you might need a bit more to get the right consistency)

Instructions

Whisk the crème fraîche, cream, vanilla seeds, vanilla extract and egg in a large, spouted measuring cup and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. With a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture. Keep going until the mixture resembles crumbs.

Add berries to flour mixture and toss gently to evenly disperse.

Pour the cream mixture into the flour mixture slowly while gently stirring the dry ingredients with a fork, just until it comes together. It’s okay if there are a few dryer patches of dough, but if you have a lot of dry flour, add a bit more cream — about a tablespoon at a time — as you keep stirring, until you have a mostly moist, cohesive dough.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and lightly press it together until it forms a rough square. Cut dough in half and stack one half on top of the other. Press back into a rough square. Repeat this process two more times. The stacking process creates perfect, flaky layers. I do this same trick when I make biscuits. You can even plop a few extra berries in between the layers if you want.

A metal bench scraper is incredibly useful for the cutting and stacking, also for transferring the scones to the baking tray. If you make a lot of biscuits, bread or scones, I urge you to get one.

Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll into a square about 8 by 8 inches and about an inch thick. Cut square into 12 even square-ish pieces. Some will be a bit more rectangular, but that’s okay.

Place cut scones onto a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1.5 to 2 inches apart. I was able to get all of mine onto a standard half-sheet pan. They don’t spread much, but they do rise.

Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with coarse or granulated sugar. I actually prefer granulated, because I don’t like super-crunchy scones. Totally up to you. You could even use Demerara if you have it.

Place pan in freezer for at least 30 minutes before baking. This is a trick I’ve learned from several scone-making experts, and it really makes a difference. It just helps the flour hydrate and the butter chill back down, which results in the fluffiest, flakiest scones.

Here’s the cool thing, though: You can leave that tray in the freezer all night and bake yourself some fresh scones the next day. You can freeze them, transfer to plastic bags or a freezer-safe container and have scones anytime your heart desires. Yep, pretty cool.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake scones for 25 to 35 minutes until tops are crackled and golden brown and dough is cooked through. If baking from overnight frozen, you’ll definitely need the longer baking time. You might have to peel the top of one back to double-check. The dough should look moist, but not wet. All ovens are different, so just keep an eye on them and don’t be afraid to lift the lid on one to check. You can just eat that one before anyone notices.

Allow to cool completely before glazing. Or dig in while they’re still warm like we do! You can always serve some glaze alongside.

For the glaze:

While scones are baking, make the glaze by combining all glaze ingredients in a bowl or spouted measuring cup. Whisk to combine. You should have a not-too-thick, not-too-thin, pourable consistency that won’t all just slither off the scones. I describe it as the consistency of cool honey. Drizzle glaze over cooled scones and dig in!

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.
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